Old Inventory Barley Wine
Valley Brewing Company

Old Inventory Barley WineOld Inventory Barley Wine
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British Barleywine
Ranked #99
Ranked #11,291
4.03 | pDev: 8.68%
Valley Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Old Inventory Barley WineOld Inventory Barley Wine
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 40 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of brentk56
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color with a modest head that leaves a reasonable amount of lacing behind

Smell: Toffee, tobacco, brown sugar, bananas and, unfortunately, some Sherry notes

Taste: Toffee, brown sugar and a hint of bananas, up front, with a tobacco hop character and Sherry flavor developing by mid-palate; while there is a mellow barley malt flavor underneath, the tobacco hop harshness overwhelms in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; rather thin for the style

Overall: Not sure how old this beer is, but it is time to drink up, as the oxidation is taking its toll; there is a nice barleywine underneath, but the raw tobacco character from the hops makes this one a challenge to enjoy

Thanks, joeneugs, for the opportunity

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Photo of Devi0us
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottle date, Vintage unknown. Poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a dark dingy brown with a short-lived 1 finger khaki head. Minimal lacing left on glass as I consumed this hometown brew.

S- The smell of dark fruit and brown sugar hit your nose like it was a boxing speed bag. 

T- This tastes just like it smells. Dark fruit and Caramel to start off but add in a bit of banana to the equation. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M - This beer is full bodied with medium carbonation.

O- Not bad for a hometown Barley Wine. Very drinkable and a small price tag. Although I have had better, I would not hesitate to pick up one of these Bad Boys the next time I see it.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label states this beer can be cellared for years of enjoyment…..I couldn’t wait that long. +1 for the label. Hottie Central. The brew pours a beautiful brown that magically turns to burgundy when brought into the light. Beige creamy head which turns into a ring around the glass. The foamy head easily comes back when agitated. Sticky sweet cotton candy aroma with some plum, prunes and orange in the mix. Malty taste with a nice spicy hop bite to it. A slight taste of prune juice also comes to mind. Big full bodied mouthfeel. Overall this was a tough bomber @ 11.3% but I had fun putting it down. Smooth drinking and very worthy of a session. I would like to see how this matures with time. Good value.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date: 05/06/2011
Type: 22oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2010
Glass: Tulip

*A thank you goes to David(popery) for giving me the opportunity to sample this brew!

Pours a brown mahoghany in color w/ a 1/3 finger off-white head that quickly dissipates, leaving light lacing. Aromas of carmel/toffee drenched dark fruits(plum, fig, raisin), and a touch of earthiness. The taste was much the same as the nose. The flavors opened with caramel/toffee up front, followed by dark rich fruits, and finished w/ ever so mild hop bite. Despite not having a pronouced hop bite, this brew is well balanced and never became cloying at any point. Mouthfeel was thin-medium bodied. This is my only knock on the brew, would have liked this to be a little more still and w/ slightly more body. For 11.3% ABV, this is amazingly easy to drink! I have never had a big beer such as this w/ a more well hidden ABV. I upped the score a bit on the mouthfeel to compensate for the drinkability score that I cannot give(which would have been a 5.0).

Overall, a pleasure to sample. Glad David hooked me up w/ 2 more bottles to age. My prediction is that this brew will transform from a good/solid English Barleywine, into a fantastic maybe even benchmark of the style w/ 2-3 years in the cellar. Definately seek this brew out and purchase a bunch to age.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage, I believe, served into oversized wine glass.

A: Muddy brown with limited tan head that quickly fades but leaves lace on he edge. Lots of carbonation throughout the body.

N: Sweet molasses and raisin bread.

T/M: Very fruity--dark fruits like plum, a bit of raisins, and figs--very prune-like. Good carbonation, but very smooth. Not much of a hop note, but it still tastes great and feels excellently balance--the fruit notes are not too overwhelmingly sweet--because there is a slight spice--like black pepper--that balances this one out.

This beer is very drinkable. Initially, I assumed this beer to be around 9.25%abv, but was shocked to see it clock in at 11.3%! It goes down dangerously fast due to its great flavor.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours dark mahogany with a tight, thin head of bone. A placid surface quickly cleared and a few dots of lacing was the best retention to be found.

Aromatics lead off with ripe malt, dark fruit, chocolate, and a hint of booziness. Hints of cherries, whiskey, leather, and toffee follow through.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a grippy, slickish mouthfeel.

Dark chocolate, plump, juicy malt, and ripe fruit start the palate. Boozy and fruity with plenty of juicy malt.

Finishes with hints of whisky, vanilla, nuts, fruit, and plenty of sweet, dark caramel.

Tasty Barleywine. The whisky/boozy note makes me wonder if there was a barrel aged bit mixed in.

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Photo of billab914
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a very dark brown color, but showed some mahogany highlights when held up to the light. The head was scattered across the top of the beer, but left some nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a a big malty profile to it. Lots of caramel present with with some dark fruits present as well. Raisins and plum like flavors come through in the maltiness. Just a bit of the hops show through as well.

The taste is similar to the aroma suggests with the malty sweetness taking center stage. Caramel and dark fruits play a big part in the taste, but there is also a slight roasty, coffee, bitterness coming through that prevents it from being too sweet. Everything comes together pretty nicely in the taste and makes for some great flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with modest carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's a an excellent barleywine overall. It had some great malty, sweet flavors but was also relatively balanced with some roasty and bitter hoppiness coming through. Very good beer overall.

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Photo of Offa
4.97/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a simply outstanding barleywine, complex and exceedingly smooth and drinkable, especially considering the abv of 11.3%, since it is not overly boozy at all. It is currently among the absolute best barleywines I've had. I had the 2009 vintage just on Hallowe'en 2010.

Faintly hazy deep red-amber, it has a medium-big, creamy tan head slowly shrinking to a thin, foamy top, which eventually thins to a foamy ring. It leaves a few weak wisps of lace.

Aroma is rich, full-bodied and complex with a lot of wood, dark figs, sweet fermtned dark fruits with a light whisky quality,fermenting molasses, baked apples, and dark toast.

Taste is spicey wood, zesty faint licorice, molasses-ginger bread, prunes, earth, light soured fruits, a hint of dark toast, a warming whisky quality spiciness and a light zesty-juicy yeastiness. It is very complex and balanced, with the various elements bright and intermeshing exceedingly well. Alcohol provides a smooth, spicey warmth but the high abv is not remotely obvious. It leans slightly to sweet side. Feel is full and creamy, but lively, and it is not truly oily. It is full of flavour and complexity but wonderfully well balanced and smooth.

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Photo of armock
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a brown color with a thin tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Has a very sweet caramel malt nose with some dark fruit

T - Follows the nose starts off with sweet caramel malt then the dark fruits come out fishes with a touch of alcohol

M - This beer has a full body with medium carbonation to it

D - For what it is and the abv this is a very drinkable for a Barleywine it tastes very good making it easy to drink a little too fast worth picking up if you see it around

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle sent as an extra, opened at a recent tasting. Beer is dark brown and clear with a thin head that doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. Beer is lowly carbonated.

The aroma is malty / caramely. It smells pretty good.

Beer is medium bodied and a little creamy. Its malty sweet and finishes sweet. Its nice overall. Nothing too interesting or special though. I would drink it again but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to drabmuh for opening this up.

Pours a nice caramel color with an off white head. Nose brings forward some lint cherries, a bit of citrus, caramel, and dates. Taste integrates the flavors but it does not have the depth I expect from the best in this style. Feel is quite nice and creamy and this drinks quite well. I wouldn't mind have a bottle or two to cellar.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from K&L Wines. Bottle advertised a GABF medal so it seemed worth a try. Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip.

Super dark body that looks black if it weren't for hues of amber towards the edges. One finger beige head that exhibits good retention. Some decent lacing.

Smells of caramel and toffee some raisins and figs. Also a faint whiff of leafy/grassy hops.

Tastes of caramel/toffee, raisins, and figs. Then a resinous bitterness with a really nice balanced toffee/caramel and resin finish.

The mouthfeel is a tad light for such a big beer. Carbonation is pretty spot on, on the higher end of low carbonation. Smooth, but assertive with a nice bite at the end.

Quite quaffable and easy to put away. Alcohol is almost unnoticeable.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, nearly black body with one finger of tan head which fades fast. Caramel, roasty, and fruity aroma.

Cocoa finish, subtle roasted malt, caramel/toffee sweetness balanced perfectly by the hop bitterness present. Dried figs, apricots, and dates come to play; flavors mesh well. Full bodied and medium-high carbonation. Slick tongue coating. Alcohol heat exerts itself. Roasted malt adds complexity.

Opinion: Very balanced and interesting barleywine. Alcohol heat is robust but not boozy, yet aroma is rather unimpressive, however the taste is spot on. A tasty barleywine indeed.

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Photo of mothman
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ipa247 for sending this one out.

Poured into Stone Old Guardian Glass.

Pours a light layer of light tan head. Fades down fast leaving slight splattered lace. Color is a dark ruby hued brown.

Aroma: Rich and malty with lots of sweet notes. Caramel malt, toffee notes, dried fruits, plums, raisins. It smells like it has some barrel aging going on. A very nice and warm aroma.

Taste: Rich and malty with sweet dried fruits. Cherries, raisins, plums. Caramel malts show. A bit of heat as well. Lots of nice flavors, bit a bit hot.

Mouthfeel: Warm, smooth, and creamy. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends malty with a touch of booze showing.

Overall, a very solid b-wine that I was happy to try. A lot of great flavors with a nice balance to it. Thank Jeff for sending this one out. I was really glad to try this one! Fairly drinkable.

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Photo of Ghenna
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up from the Davis foods co-op for about ten bucks. Cute chick with partially exposed boobs and a label that read barley wine made for a combination that I had little choice but to buy.

Beer pours brownish amber with ~1/5 finger of head that completely dissipates after two minutes. Nose is uncomplicated and can be summed up in one word: sweet. Malty sweetness, simple and pure.

Fortunately the the sweetness is mostly in the nose, because if it followed into the taste the beer would be cloyingly sugary. Essentially though, the initial taste on the tongue is malt sweet, with a burned sugar aftertaste that lingers on my tongue after I've swallowed it. Despite it being 11%, it only elicits a mildly smushy face from my wife- which is to say that for rest of us, it is barely noticeable.

All told, I'm not a huge fan even though I consider BW to be my favorite style. I mean aside from the sweet, there just isn't a lot to it. This might be because I'm more accustomed to BWs that are more hop balanced like Gnarleywine or Bigfoot or Old Guardian. Not a bad beer though, just not one I'd pay near $10 for.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep amber with thin tan head. The aroma is pure molasses mixing with cherries, figs and prunes as well as chocolate chip cookie, grainy malts and earthiness. The taste is smooth English barleywine with prunes, figs, cherries, pears and plums. Smooth sweet delicious malts rounded out by a bit of musty earthiness bring this to the finish. A dandy English BW.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a caramel/amber color with a quarter inch khaki head that leaves minimal lacing. The nose is heavy on sweet caramel malt. Light phenolic notes are buried beneath aromas of brown sugar and whole wheat toast. The flavor profile is about as basic as they come for a barleywine. Caramel maltiness, soft and grainy mid-palate, touches of nutmeg, dried fruit and almonds. The finish is dry, with light, piney hops and a thin line of sweetness. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Surprisingly well balanced for being an 11.3 ABV. This one should cellar very well.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: The pour is a dark mahogany color with a creamy khaki colored head.

S: There are plenty of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and maybe even some molasses. The ubiquitous dark fruits also come into play and seem to be in the form of figs, raisins, and plums, along with a non-dark fruit: banana.

T: The dark, caramelized sugar flavors are the most up-front. As with the nose, a lot of brown sugar and toffee here. The light banana character is present, as are the plums and figs. A bit of alcohol warmth, but not hot by any means.

M: The body is on the full side, as you might expect, with a low, smooth carbonation and some warming alcohol.

D: Despite the barleywine moniker, this is a very easy to drink beer. The alcohol is nicely hidden and the sweetness is well balanced, despite a noticeable lack of hop flavor and aroma.

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Photo of mikey711
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra from Bryanbrick

A: Murky brown with some transparency at the bottom of the glass. The head is fluffly and slightly off white. No lacing really but the head retained pretty well

S: Dark fruits like plums, cherries, and figs are the prominent note followed by some caramel sweetness and leather notes

T: Very nice smooth caramel note followed by a bit of sherry. The dark fruits are very present as well. There is also pretty nice hoppy bitter note in the finish.

M: Fairly smooth, the body is a little thin though. No heat is present though

D: For the abv it is actually pretty easy to put back and overall quite enjoyable

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. Pilfered from my girlfriend's fridge. She discovered that she likes some barleywines, so she started buying random ones at the store and then sending me drunk e-mails. I've created a monster.

This was also shared by alexd___ at the Younger release, but I was so far gone (and my palate so wrecked) that I'm sure I missed every flavor there. Here's a proper review.

A: Pours a dark, translucent maroon body with a half-finger of short-lived dark cream head.

S: Brown sugar, toffee, banana, dates. A light spicy phenol note. Nice! Was this brewed with Belgian yeast? Also some booze.

T: Dark fruits start off: cherries, plums, figs. Banana and toffee in the mid-taste, gradually leaning toward sweeter brown sugar and caramel as it draws to a malty and lightly spicy close. I like the variety; there are traces of earthy bittering hops to offset the sugars.

M: Medium-full bodied; it has low carbonation, but it's a bit high to be velvety. The ABV isn't detected on the taste even though I sense it in the aroma.

D: It goes down very easily for something that's over 11% (wow!). And it's a good price. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep auburn color with mild carbonation. A small head, but no lacing.

S - Very malty!!! Faint alcohol and fruit - raisins, cherries and. Some hops (I'd guess fuggles and hallertau, but I could be way off) that are probably appropriate for English beers, but initially smell a little startling to me. As it warms, the hop profile meshes a bit better.

T - Strong malt - a little bitter in the foretaste. The bitterness is quickly joined by some fruiter aspects - raisins and a hint of dates and cherries. Alcohol is evident, but not dominant. Aftertaste is a slight warm alcohol with hints of lingering fruits.

M - Smooth, thin, pretty refreshing.

D - Nice! I enjoyed this. My first impression was a bit less enthused than my final vote, but I did enjoy it the whole time.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jkwalking for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours dark red with a white head. It is very clear. The aroma is dark fruit, cherry and caramel malt. The flavor is very malt with some alcohol and dark cherry notes. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of vacax
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from NorCal. Only the sixth review of this Great American Beer Fest Gold medal winner? Lazy BAs! Where is all the Valley Brew love?

This beer is a nearly opaque dark brown with a lovely one finger dark cream head. The cap of foam is thick, and retention is high. The tiny bubbles leave a number of strands of lacing, more than usual for such a strong barleywine.

Aromas of toffee, caramel, dates, chocolate, and light spiciness. No alcohol on the nose, despite its girthy 11.3% ABV. Just rich malts and a hint of sugary dark fruit. The flavor is robust with toffee, breadiness, dough, dates, grapes, and a lightly spicy bitterness that carries into a resplendent cookielike finish. Unbelievable lack of alcohol in the flavor, despite being rich and high gravity this drinks way too easily. One of the only barleywines I could drink a full bomber of with no problems, I daresay. Full bodied with a low-moderate amount of carbonation. Feels rich, but not decadent, lending itself to the quaffability and complementing the bitterness.

This has just about everything right and nothing wrong. I'm not sure I know of another non-barrel aged barleywine that can stack up to this. How is this beer not insanely sought after? A barrel aged version... one could only drool over the prospect.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter. 2009 vintage?

Burnt umber body with cardinal highlights. A whispy head fails to really form despite a vigorous pour - though a nice thick buff collar persists.

Doughy almost yeasty aromatics - faint banana, toast, burnt sugar, and a light port note.

Surprisingly dry on the palate - nice leathery malty profile with low level fig, cocoa, and light grassy hops. A touch of earth in the finish. Faint caramel throughout. ABV melds into the profile quietly.

Slick, almost medium-bodied, a touch chewy, very faintly astringent. Slightly warming but not at all hot.

A pleasant example of the style - not as potent or multi-layered as I'd like, but this could develop over time (a touch of oxidation wouldn't be unwelcome actually).

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours deep crimson brown. The nose exhibits prominent earthy hops, with notes of caramel, dates, toffee, and lightly roasted malt. A dash of alcohol is evident. The flavor is surprisingly bitter up front, with notes of earth, figs, dates, prunes, brown sugar, and caramel. Alcohol is well hidden for the ABV. The hops are a bit strong and it seems a bit young at this point. I think this will improve with a little age.

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Old Inventory Barley Wine from Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 40 ratings